UPDATE #32 11/24/06 thru 11/27/06
We are very interested in hearing from ya’all.
If you have missed out on any of the previous emails and would like us
to re-send them, please let us know.
let me know if these emails containing pictures are too large and we will send
you a version with text only.
period 4/1 thru 11/23 has been covered in Updates 1 through 31.
#32 11/24/06 through 11/27/06.
As you may remember, we have been traveling
south on the Tenn-Tom Waterway and the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway.
FRIDAY BATES LAKE ANCHORAGE, MILE 54.0 (BWTW) TO MOBILE, ALABAMA
The weather, well, it was still dark out but I could see what looked like the beginnings of patchy fog out on the river bend. It was only 5:30 am, so, after firing up the heat pump and putting on the coffee, I tried my computer and was surprised to have an internet connection. I worked on the logs a bit while waiting for more daylight to assess the weather. Sure enough, the fog thickened as the dawn broke. By 7 am, however, the layer had lifted enough for us to weigh anchor.
The holding ground had been very good, therefore, we had a lot of mud to clean off the chain and anchor. Twenty minutes later, we were back out on the BWTB (Black Warrior-Tombigbee). At Mile 45.0, the Tombigbee River and the Alabama River combine their strengths to become the Mobile River.
The CSX Railroad swing bridge crosses at Mile 13.2, however, it is known as “the 14-Mile Bridge”. With only a few minutes delay, we passed through the final opening bridge on our Great Loop trip.
The tranquility of the meandering rivers soon gave way to the rising skyline of Mobile, Alabama. As the ship’s clock showed 12:45 pm, the rivers and the BWTB Waterway passed from our stern. The Mobile Ship Channel commences at the headwaters of Mobile Bay and continues almost 40 miles before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. The hustle and bustle of the city surrounded us. Tall buildings, giant bridges, commercial docks lined with humungous, ocean-going ships being loaded with grains and other goods, and lots of barge traffic.
As we neared the southern end of the commercial docks, the Mobile Bay opens very wide.
Our VHF radio blurted out the “panicky” call of a distressed boater. He had become disoriented and had no idea where he was. Rightfully so, he was fearful of going aground in the shallow waters off the channels. The Coast Guard responded and attempted to ascertain the vessel’s position. The highly-stressed boater made several attempts to give his Lat-Long, but was having trouble with the sequence. I, kind of, figured out what he was trying to say and calculated that he was nearby. Using the binoculars, I located the small yacht and joined in with some help. I was able to ask him some questions as to what he could see. Then I asked him to look off from his port beam and look for a large crane with red/white stripes. He could see it. I then gave him directions to the channel and he was able to reorient himself from seeing our boat and the crane. Although he was panicked and, probably, inexperienced, he did several things right. When he became unsure of his position, he dropped the anchor to avoid getting into worse trouble. He then attempted to get help from others. These two things, most likely, saved him from getting into serious difficulties and eminently damaging the boat. Safely back in the channel, he thanked us profusely and told us that he had borrowed his son’s boat for the afternoon cruise. The son had installed some new navigation equipment and he had absolutely no idea how to operate it. As they say, “All’s Well that Ends Well.” They were safe, the boat was safe, and we were happy to have been able to be of help to a fellow boater. Who knows, we may be next.
Our marina destination lies up the Dog River off Mobile Bay’s western shore. At 1:32 pm, we made the sharp turn to starboard entering the narrow, shallow channel leading to the Dog River. We immediately went from the 45-plus feet of the Ship Channel to the 6-7 foot depths of the side channel. This is another of those channels that boaters must pay close attention to the wind and the current. Inattentiveness will soon result in a call to the nearest towing service. It has long amazed me that so much of the earth’s great expanses of surface waters have such little depth. Forty-five minutes later, we were “shoe-horned” between boats and into a very short opening on the long dock. The Grand Mariner Marina will be home for AMARSE for, at least, a month. Everyone here is very nice and we feel comfortable about our choice of marinas.
A peaceful, restful dinner consisted of Meat Loaf, gravy, and a baked potato. A delicious dinner to top off a delightful day.
ALABAMA TO GIWW TO MOBILE, ALABAMA
Today is a very big day for AMARSE and for her crew. We are about to culminate our lifetime adventure of these many months. The weather is perfect, being sunny, clear, and a warming trend into the 70’s. In a semi-relaxed way, we had a breakfast of scrambled eggs and toasted bagels. I don’t know how Judy does it, but she makes the best scrambled eggs.
Now, it was time to go. At 8:55 am, we pivoted our way out of the tight dock space, cautiously transited the narrow side channel, and rejoined the main Ship Channel through Mobile Bay. Just 19 more miles south lies our target destination. At that geographical location, the Mobile Ship Channel will intersect with the Gulf Intracoastal WaterWay (GIWW). “Loopers” refer to the point where they meet their crossing point that closes the “Loop” as “Crossing their own Wake”. In other words, the bow waves intersect at the same place you passed so many months ago. Although we began our voyage in Houston, many miles west of here, this is where we actually started the loop portion of the trip.
POSITION: N30 16.328 W088 02.181
Here is how we announced the momentous occasion.
COMPLETES THE “LOOP”; CONTINUES THE “CIRCLE”.
We are pleased to announce that AMARSE has completed
“America’s Great Loop” at 11:23 am, 11/25/06.
Fred Reed and Judy Law departed Houston’s Clear Lake on April 1,
2006. After 239 wonderful days, we crossed our own wake.
Our voyage of a lifetime traversed 7269.5 miles and we internalized
millions of fabulously memorable moments.
We arrived at Grand Mariner Marina in Mobile, AL the afternoon prior.
On Saturday, we headed south on the Mobile Ship Channel to the GIWW
crossing almost 20 mile south. The
weather was clear and warm. The
bay was a glassy smooth. As if
they knew what was about to take place, or perhaps they may have recognized us
from those months ago, numerous Dolphins swam along as if to escort us and
offer their congratulations. The
crossing was an exciting moment. We
cheered, smiled, laughed, and rejoiced. Most
importantly, we sealed our adventure with a “kiss”, sincerely
“Thanking” each other for all the sharing and caring that made this voyage
such a great success.
Sometimes I think that the adventure should be
called “The Great Loop-Circle-Cruise”. The “Great Loop” for the journey itself that is now
completed; the “Great Circle” for the “Circle of Friends” that goes on
forever. For those behind us, and
those ahead of us, you will always travel “close-abeam” with us.
Our togetherness is what has made this so much more than just a trip.
Soon, AMARSE will bear the proud yellow burgee as
she rests in Mobile, AL. We are
back in San Antonio taking care of “land stuff.” Hopefully, and very, very soon, we will return to our favored
lifestyle at “home” on the waterways.
At present, we have all the charts with no lines drawn, however, we
will be sharpening the pencil.
Merci Beau Coup; Bon Voyage
Reed and Judy Law
A tremendous sense of accomplishment surrounded us as we turned AMARSE around and headed back up the Ship Channel against the current of the falling tide. We were euphoric on this lovely, lovely afternoon. At 1:40pm, the depth sounder confirmed the shallower waters of the side channel. We were at near low tide and we remained very attentive to our course; an unfortunate grounding would most certainly tarnish the glorious accomplishments of this special day.
Again, at 2:15 pm, we had squeezed into our little, dock opening and AMARSE could now take her well-deserved rest. She has been an amazing vessel. She has performed wonderfully; far exceeding our expectations. Judy and I are thoroughly convinced that this was exactly the right boat for us and for this trip. AMARSE, we adore you, we respect you, and we thank you for your marvelous performance. Rest now, our dear AMARSE, soon we will depart again together on another adventure yet to be conceived.
We borrowed the courtesy car and found the local seafood shop. Into the bag went 2 ¾ pounds of jumbo (10/15) shrimp and a pound of scallops. We sautéed half of the cache in butter and served it with a mound of steaming, fried rice. What a fabulous celebration dinner.
We are in for another beautiful, southern morning here on the Dog River. I worked on the logs all morning. Judy started the arduous task of packing up stuff to take back to San Antonio. Some of the stuff that we thought we had to have proved useless. There were numerous articles of clothing that we never used and were just taking up precious space. A list was made and these things will find their way back to land. Judy made her special recipe French Toast for our breakfast. It has to be the best; I wonder if the French would like to take some cooking lessons from Judy? Most of the day was spent organizing and securing the boat. We did borrow the courtesy car to visit our friends on “Frobenius”. Andy and Dinata Misovec are a wonderful couple that we have enjoyed so much. Dinata prepares a wonderful, daily journal, complete with photos, which she sends out daily. I have enjoyed every line and verse. Andy is dealing with an eye problem that has delayed their journey to Florida. We are all hopeful for a speedy recovery. Our “Looper” friends are more like family to us.
I bet you were thinking, “What about the other half of the seafood cache?” Ponder no more, me lovelies, we devoured each and every one of those crustaceans and mollusks sautéed in butter. They did not tarry long arranged tantalizingly on the platter of bowtie “Farfelle” pasta. And that’s what I like about the South!
Robert and Patty Mitchell, aboard their magnificent 48-foot Tollycraft motor yacht, invited us to join them for evening cocktails. We had a lovely time together. Our paths have been crossing now for about a week and we have enjoyed being with them in several locations. Interestingly, both of them are retired from the aviation world. Robert managed some paint and maintenance shops for Gulfstream Aerospace. Patty retired from United Airlines where she Captained the Boeing 747-400 giant on international routes. Her distinguished career is a tribute to her perseverance and accomplishments over many years of dedication and love of airplanes. Their boat is a showpiece that contains numerous niceties like dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, trash compacter, and icemaker. You should see the large engine room that houses the spotlessly white, twin, and turbocharged Caterpillar power plants. We chatted, and chatted some more, surprised at how fast we exceeded “cruiser’s midnight”. As they head west toward Texas, we wish them good trip.
ALABAMA TO SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (by
The final items were packed, the perishables placed in coolers, and the boat was secured for the time being. Neither Judy nor I wanted to leave AMARSE and this idyllic lifestyle that we have grown to love. AMARSE feels like home. It is like we are part and parcel of the water way of life. It is like this is where we fit in. It is like this is where we are meant to be. Of course, we will be happy to see our friends and family back in Texas, but we will be longing for our swift return to our beloved AMARSE.
Facilitated by the use of the courtesy car, we picked up our Alamo Rent Car from the airport. At the marina, we packed it with our loads of stuff. We said our “good-byes” to AMARSE and gave her our thanks once more before departing at 12:10 pm for the long drive to SA. Although the rain in Houston tried to dampen our attitude, the trip was brightened by our stop at Schobel’s Restaurant in Columbus, TX. It is a great place at mile 695 on I-10 west of Houston. If you are in the area, we recommend that you stop in and enjoy.
The trip was made light by listening to a “audio-book on CD”. It was a rather light work of fiction recounting the events and experiences of a 15 year old girl growing up on Long Island, NY. I would definitely say that is a “girl” type storyline, however, I did enjoy the author’s style and descriptive talent.
We arrived to the dark house just before midnight. The house has been dormant since the end of March. It took us about an hour and a half to get everything turned back on and ready for us to lay our weary heads to rest. Amazing as it may seem, it felt oddly strange to be in our own bed.
We have finalized this portion of our great Loop
Adventure. Soon, we will embark
on a new phase of adventure and excitement.
As of yet, we have not made firm plans.
We don’t know whether we will undertake a relaxing cruise or
undertake another quest. We
don’t know whether our travels will take us West, or East, or North.
We have many choices to set our sights on.
We have the desire, we have the right boat, we have the attitude; Our
task remains to hone in on the right adventure.
Please let us know if you have any special suggestions and thoughts.
We sincerely hope that you have
enjoying these email UPDATES. We
thank those of you who have contacted us recently and we are looking forward
to hearing from each of you in the near future.
As we organize our thoughts and take care of our “land-based
stuff”, we will suspend our update emails for the time being.
If you would like, we will resume with the sequel to the adventures of
AMARSE and crew. We are hopeful
for a resumption soon. Thanks for
allowing us to share our life and adventures with you. ADIOS.
can be reached at 361-550-5353 and Fred can be reached at 210-296-4933.
We can be reached at either number.
Please call us if you like, we’d really like to hear from you.
is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY". Our website is:
it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email
We would like to hear more about what is
happening in your lives. Let us
know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family.
Please call or email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too.
Reed and Judy Law
Fred H. Reed
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